HUNTINGDON, Pa.-The Juniata men's basketball team had four players reach double-digits as their balanced attack led the Eagles to an 81-63 win over visiting Lancaster Bible, Wednesday evening at Memorial Gymnasium.
Nathan Markey (York, Pa. / Central York) found a slashing Jake Holsopple (Duncansville, Pa. / Hollidaysburg) inside who shielded off the defender and laid it in off the glass. Lancaster Bible scored the next four points before Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa. / Bishop Carroll) popped free under the hoop. Holsopple whipped the ball to him and he quickly laid it in to knot things at four.
The Chargers converted from behind the three-point line, but the Eagles responded. Juniata came down and could not find a quick shot as the shot clock ticked down. The Chargers poked the ball loose by the scorers table, but it went out. With four seconds to go, Martinazzi tossed the ball to Markey who was on the right wing several steps behind the line. He rose up and drilled the three to tie things at 7-7.
On the next defensive possession, Nicholas Albert (Herndon, Va. / Westfield High) stole the ball and tossed it ahead to Martinazzi who scored easily to make it 9-7. Cameron Keck (Waynesboro, Pa. / Waynesboro) converted two foul shots and Marcus Hall (York, Pa. / Trinity) scored inside off a find from Nate DaCanal (Johnsonburg, Pa. / Elk County Catholic). The Chargers responded with three points the old-fashioned way before Nichols drained a three from the right corner and Paul Martello (York, Pa. / York Catholic) drilled one on the next possession off a Martinazzi pass to make it 19-10. Martinazzi capped the run with a steal and easy layup as the Eagles led by 11 with nine minutes to go in the half.
The Chargers hung around as over the next few minutes they kept the Eagle lead around seven points. with the score at 27-22, Holsopple scored the next seven Eagle points with two layups and three from the top of the key, which made it 34-24 with two and half minutes remaining. The Chargers scored the next five points to make it 34-29 with 45 seconds to go. In the final seconds of the half Martello split a pair of foul shots as Juniata went into the locker room up six, 35-29.
It was a strong defensive performance for the Eagles in the first half as they held Lancaster Bible to 37.9% shooting from the field and forced 12 turnovers.
Lancaster Bible tried to close the game early as the pulled within two in the first three minutes. Another layup by Holsopple off a Noah Neville (Westminster, Md. / North Carroll) pass and a Martello triple helped keep the Chargers at bay. Martello drew a foul on a three and sunk two of the free throws before he scored inside to push the lead to six. Markey drilled another three off another Martinazzi assist to push the lead back to nine, forcing a Lancaster Bible timeout.
Juniata sustained their 10-point lead over the next few minutes, with a triple from Martello make it 61-51 with eight minutes to go in the game. Holsopple converted two foul shots, Neville scored inside to push the lead to 14, forcing another visitor timeout. The Eagle defense continued to stymie the Chargers. On the offensive side, Nichols slid a slick bounce pass through the defense to Holsopple for an easy inside bucket. Following another stop, Martinazzi grabbed the long rebound and accelerated past several slow to get back defenders. He dropped the ball off to Markey for an easy two to push the lead to 18, 69-51. Lancaster Bible eventually scored to make it 69-53 with a layup. Juniata held them scoreless for four minutes.
The Chargers got within 11, but Juniata managed to pull away to cement the 81-63 win.
Juniata shot 50.0% from the floor and held Lancaster Bible to 37.7%.
Markey had a career-high nine rebounds while Martinazzi tallied a career-high eight assists.
Juniata will host Drew in Landmark Conference play, Saturday at 4:00.